Wednesday, January 1, 2014
TIs President Obama Competent to Manage ObamaCare? Does He Have the Time?
The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence because it’s so rare.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003), Democratic Senator from New York
The disastrous rollout of healthcare.gov, the wave of health plan cancellations, and the chaos surrounding the implementation of ObamaCare on January 1, 2014, has critics asking these questions:
Is President Obama stretched too thin from his political, ceremonial, and other domestic and foreign duties to have enough time to pay attention to the details of ObamaCare implementation ? Managing the process after all is a full time job for even an extraordinary mortal.
Does President Obama have the managerial competence to manage the health system? He has no previous experience as a chief executive running a business or meeting a payroll, or satisfying the fiduciary or service demands, needs or wants of a vast consumer base.
Should he appoint a chief executive from the private sector with experience in running a health care organization to oversee and manage ObamaCare implementation?
Even his staunch supporters, such as Ezekial Emmanuel, MD, his former chief medical adviser, have suggested appointing a CEO might be wise move for the President.
So far President Obama has given no hints that he might be interested in such a move. His reasoning might go like this: Appointing a CEO might strip him of personal power to control evolving events; it might be an admission of failure on his part; it might be premature because ObamaCare may progress smoothly once the website is fixed, once he has reached an accord with health plan executives, once enrollments spike to their predicted levels, once the public gets hooked on the benefits of the law; and once his broken promises are forgotten, forgiven, and fall into the dustbin of history.
President Obama may be correct in his assumptions, but I would not bet on these assumptions meeting the tests of reality. The Republicans will continue to pound on the incompetence of the website rollout. They will dwell on the unfulfilled or broken promises and ouright deceptions of ObamaCare, and they will highlight stories of soaring premiums and deductibles of individuals being forces to switch doctors and health plans among those forced to drop current health plans and to pay for suddenly unaffordable government-compliant plans.
President Obama is not out of the CEO woods yet. The public and his critics may demand that he appoint an experienced health care executive to integrate, coordinate, and oversee the various interacting functions of ObamaCare, which have been clumsily managed to date.
Tweet: A chorus of voices is calling for President Obama to appoint a chief executive officer to oversee the implementation of ObamaCare.